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How to Negotiate Your Next Deal

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Whether it's for a lease or trying to win an overseas vendor, small-business owners should master negotiation skills.

Jim Camp, an expert in the art of negotiation, says good negotiating requires limited compromise and throwing the "win-win" theory out the door to lead to profitable agreements.
Whether it's for a lease or trying to win an overseas vendor, small-business owners should master negotiation skills.

Camp is the author of two books: Start With No and No: the Only System of Negotiation You Need for Work and Home. Camp also founded the Camp Negotiation Institute, where he teaches "how to recognize, neutralize and overcome predatory negotiation tactics that result in poor outcomes." Organizations from Fortune 500 companies to the FBI and its hostage crisis team members have used Camp's negotiation training.

Camp answered a few questions on negotiation strategy:

Why is it critical for small-business owners to know how to negotiate?

Camp: It's very simple. Every penny they ever bring into their business is brought in because of an agreement with someone else. It's the most critical thing they do every day, but most haven't been trained at it. If they've been trained, they've been trained to give away and compromise, which is totally incorrect. And they wonder why they can't get to where they want to be.

Where can negotiating skills come in handy?

Camp: I have a small-business client that just [saved] $24,000 in rent over a two-year period on the office space they were leasing. They also picked up $8,000 in new carpet, paint and sprucing up of the office they are leasing. They also got a whole new AC and heating system, paid for, that they would have had to pay for themselves.

That's just one example of a successful small-business negotiation. That $40,000 is very valuable to a small business.

What do they learn in the training program you offer?

Camp: They'll learn how decisions are made; they'll learn that no one ever makes a logical decision. They'll learn how to not compromise needlessly. They'll learn how to raise prices when they should and not be afraid to raise prices. They'll learn how to build truly great business relationships that will last for decades in repeat business. So many agreements are based on the collective bargaining model, which creates conflicts; the agreements they make will stick and last.
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